Sunday, March 17, 2019

Maytag washers at Pascoe Bros.

Just in time for spring cleaning, the Pascoe Bros. hardware store was advertising its Maytag washers one hundred years ago, in March 1919.

Advertisement from the Cuba City News-Herald (March 22, 1919)

The store was located on Main Street in the northern Junque Stops Here building, next to the former Cuba Theatre. William H. Pascoe built this hardware store in Cuba City in 1876, the year after the town was founded, and his sons, Vincent and W. W. (Willis William), continued to run the business after his death in 1917.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Don Rue Tavern

St. Patrick's Day 1936 brought a new business to Cuba City: the Don Rue Tavern. The establishment was run by Bill Nelson and Byron Goldthorpe and was located on Main Street, where Junque Stops Here is today, next to Nick's Cafe.

Advertisement from the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (March 16, 1936)

The Cuba City News-Herald had this to say about the new tavern:
"The room has been newly painted and decorated and most of the fixtures, which are all new, were installed yesterday. The bar and back bar present a beautiful appearance in its three-tone effect, with hidden colored lights." (February 20, 1936)
"Observers maintain that this is one of the best and most modern taverns in this section of the state. The furniture and fixtures are far above average and the accommodations for the ladies are inviting." (March 12, 1936)
This building was formerly occupied by the Brewer Brothers clothing store, which moved to its new location on the corner of Main and Clay Streets in the early 1930s. The Gamble Store opened in this space in 1943.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Cuba City State Bank and the Great Depression

During the Great Depression, confidence in financial institutions plummeted, and scenes of worried people waiting outside banks to withdraw their savings were common. How did Cuba City weather the storm?

The Cuba City State Bank was the only financial institution in town at this time, having just bought out and moved into the home of its competitor, the First National Bank, in 1928.

 Image from a postcard postmarked 1915.

Though it appears that no dramatic runs on the bank occurred during the Depression years, there were still some anxious moments.

On July 23, 1932, a rumor spread that the Cuba City State Bank was closing its doors. The following article was published in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald on July 26:
Rumors Concerning Cuba City Bank False
Rumors that the Cuba City State bank had closed its doors Saturday afternoon spread rapidly throughout Grant county. There was much anxiety aroused as a result of these rumors which were entirely dispelled when the bank resumed business Monday morning.

The Cuba City State bank, regarded as one of the strongest banks in Grant county, called in Deputy Banking Commissioner W. H. Doyle of Platteville late Saturday afternoon for a conference which may have given rise to the carelessly broadcasted report the bank was in straits but the rapid handling of the situation for the best interests of depositors and stockholders prevented any undue developments and Monday the bank was open and doing business without any apparent reason for the unwarranted reports carelessly spread about.

Cuba City business men, depositors and stockholders were considerably wrought up because some persons had handled the truth carelessly and there was fine spirit shown on their part in coming to the rescue of their bank. The bank will continue to do business as its finances are in sound condition.
These jitters were a sign of things to come. In March 1933, a banking crisis swept the nation as panicked people rushed to make withdrawals in such high volume that banks were unable to accommodate them.

Wisconsin joined the rest of the country in ordering a bank holiday, requiring all financial institutions to close. At the same time, newly inaugurated president Franklin Roosevelt declared a national bank holiday and the Emergency Banking Act was passed, setting standards for banks to reopen.

The Cuba City State Bank fared better than many and was one of the first Wisconsin banks allowed to open its doors on Tuesday, March 14. According to a March 15 article in the Telegraph Herald, the state commissioner of banking permitted the institution "to open on an unrestricted basis," which indicated that the bank was "100 per cent sound."

Sunday, March 3, 2019

First National Bank currency

Cuba City's First National Bank operated from 1900 to 1928, when it was acquired by the Cuba City State Bank. 

This is an actual bank note issued by the First National Bank in Cuba City and signed by cashier Matt Hendricks and bank president Henry J. Kettler. The note was printed by the United States Treasury and is dated 1900, but it's not clear when it went into circulation. Kettler was definitely the bank's president by 1911.

Certified proofs for Cuba City's First National Bank notes, dated 1900 and 1920, are still held by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History: 

Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (NU.297219.044852)

 Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (NU.297219.044853)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cuba City's Future Farmers

In honor of National FFA Week, here are some early members of Cuba City's Future Farmers of America, probably from the 1940s or 50s. The Cuba City chapter was started in 1934. If you recognize someone, please let me know!

Image courtesy of the City of Presidents.

Friday, February 15, 2019

1919 business directory

Curious about what businesses existed in Cuba City one hundred years ago?  Check out this directory, published in the Cuba City News-Herald on February 7, 1919.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

St. Rose Cemetery, Early View

It is common to find old postcards with images of city streets or people's portraits, but less often do you come across one of a cemetery. Here we have an early photograph of the St. Rose Catholic Cemetery, taken after 1903. Note the raised mounds and the chain fence around some of the plots. Two of the monuments with names visible belong to the McCormack and Banfield families.